Homecoming 2017 featuring The Stembler Lecture

Friday, October 27, 2017 -
4:00pm to 8:00pm

The Sonja Haynes Stone Center for Black Culture and History, 150 South Road, Chapel Hill

About the event

Movie industry executive John H. Stembler Jr.'s bequest created a $3.25 million ‘game-changer’ endowment for the Hussman School’s broadcast program. To honor Stembler's career in, and passion for, the motion picture industry, a speaker or panel event will be organized periodically at the School of Media and Journalism. The lecture will bring focus to topics related to the film industry to students, faculty and the Carolina community.

The 2017 Stembler Lecture will be held Friday, Oct. 27, 2017, at The Sonja Haynes Stone Center for Black Culture and History and will feature Alex Rizk Keane — producer, writer, editor and the founder of an independent production company, Rizk Pictures — and Ryan Eggold — writer, director and producer of the 2017 film Literally, Right Before Aaron.




Alexandra Rizk Keane '14

Alex Rizk Keane is a producer, writer, editor and the founder of an independent production company — Rizk Pictures — launched in 2016. Rizk Keane is a producer for the feature film Literally, Right Before Aaron, a Rizk Pictures Production. Rizk Pictures is a Rizk Ventures company.

Prior to founding Rizk Pictures, Rizk Keane worked for VH1’s Multiplatform Production and Programming division. She has worked with various production companies and media conglomerates such as Viacom, Woodridge Productions, Embassy Row and Sony Pictures Entertainment. She has also been a part of production teams for MTV and MTV2, NBC’s The Blacklist, as well as Law & Order: SVU.

Rizk Keane is a 2014 graduate of the UNC Hussman School of Journalism and Media. While attending the Hussman School, she specialized in broadcast and electronic communication and produced news packages and feature stories for the radio station, WCHL. 

Ryan Eggold

Ryan Eggold is the writer, director and producer of Literally, Right Before Aaron. The film is his feature directorial debut.

Eggold's acting career has spanned television and film, but he is perhaps best known for his work on the television series 90210 and Melrose Place. He currently stars as Tom Keen/Jacob Phelps on the NBC smash hit, The Blacklist.


The 2017 Stembler Lecture will be held Friday, Oct. 27, 2017, at The Sonja Haynes Stone Center for Black Culture and History from 4-8 p.m.

4-5:45 p.m. 
  • Screening of Literally, Right Before Aaron

    SYNOPSIS: After Adam (Justin Long) gets a call from his ex-girlfriend Allison (Cobie Smulders) telling him she is getting married, Adam realizes he is just not ready to say goodbye. Against the advice of his best friend Mark (John Cho), Adam decides to drive back home to San Francisco to attend the wedding in hopes of convincing himself and everyone else, including her charming fiancé Aaron (Ryan Hansen), that he is truly happy for her. After a series of embarrassing, hilarious and humbling situations, Adam discovers the comedy in romance, the tragedy of letting go and the hard truth about growing up.

    Click to view the trailer
5:45-6:45 p.m. 
6:45-8 p.m.
  • Hussman School Homecoming Reception

The endowment

The John H. Stembler, Jr. Distinguished Professorship, Professional in Residence, Capstone Student Experience and Lecture will recognize and honor the significant contribution of John Hardwick Stembler, Jr. (1943 – 2007) of Atlanta, Ga.

Stembler graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1965, where he was a member of Delta Kappa Epsilon fraternity. From 1965 to 1967, he served as a U.S. Naval officer, after which he attended University of Georgia School of Law. He then spent a year in San Francisco with United Artist Distribution. In 1971, Stembler joined Georgia Theatre Company, where he was in charge of concessions and promotions. In 1991 he partnered with his brother, William J. Stembler, to found the Georgia Theatre Company II. Stembler later sold his interest in the venture and established Zota Theatres, which operated in Brooksville, Tampa, Vero Beach and Palm City, Fla.

Stembler was an Atlanta Rotarian for more than 30 years and an Atlanta board member of the Boy Scouts of America for many decades. Throughout his adult life, he was actively engaged in Variety, a children’s charity, and served as head of the Atlanta Club for a number of years. Stembler was an outgoing individual who enjoyed promotion of good causes, a skill at which he excelled.

Stembler had a love of history, the subject in which he majored at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He gave more than half of his estate to three charities. UNC was honored to be named a recipient of a significant portion of his estate, which was used to create the John Stembler Distinguished Professorship.

The endowment will provide funding in the immediate future for the following five inter-related initiatives:

  • Stembler Distinguished Professor
  • Research Associate Producer
  • Stembler Professional in Residence
  • Stembler Capstone Immersive Student Experience
  • Stembler Lecture

Regional networking events

The Hussman School hosts regional networking events to connect students and alumni.

2017 events:

Click here to learn more about our regional event series.

If you are interested in leading or joining a host committee for a regional event, please contact Robin Jackson.